To Read or Not To Read - Dune
by Zane Dundon
Feb 13, 2014 | 335 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dune, by Frank Herbert, is an impressively detailed and well-written book and one of the best science fiction novels I’ve ever read. Dune is to science fiction what The Lord of the Rings is to fantasy. Both Herbert and Tolkien have written incredibly engaging stories with tangibly real characters, but, for these two authors, the story is only the tip of the iceberg. This is because they have created histories and cultures so detailed that, when you read their books, you really believe for a moment that their worlds are real. Every facet of Dune is so detailed and thought out, from the history to the religion to the ecology of the planet, that you get the sense what you are reading is only a fraction of what Herbert created. However, unlike Tolkien, whose writing is sometimes criticized for being too focused on his created world and not on the story, Herbert keeps you hooked the whole time, keeping the action alive while still relating the rich history of his world.

The novel centers on Paul Atreides, the son of the Duke of Arrakis, a desert planet with so little water that inhabitants must wear bodysuits to conserve their fluids in order to stay hydrated. In addition to the lack of water on Arrakis, the desert contains giant sandworms that grow to be hundreds of meters long, providing additional peril for anyone who ventures too far into the desert. Paul lives an easy life in the capital of Arrakis until his family is attacked by the Harkonnens, a rival house who seeks to take control of the planet from Paul’s father. Consequently, Paul escapes into the desert and joins the Fremen, the nomadic natives of Arrakis, who tell him of a messianic prophecy that he may unwittingly be connected to. Paul, a product of a long genetic experiment, discovers newfound powers that he must utilize to lead the Fremen in taking back control of the planet. Herbert’s novel is all at once a coming-of-age story, an exploration of a foreign ecology, and an epic adventure saga. His writing is impressively eloquent, while still being readable and not distracting from the plot. Considered by many to be the best science fiction novel ever written, Dune is a fantastic read for even non-sci-fi fans.
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